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Professor Alan Irvine - Breaking the cycle of AD

Professor Alan Irvine, MD, DSC, was awarded the Marion B. Sulzberger, MD, Memorial Award and Lectureship for his work in atopic dermatitis (AD) at the 2018 AAD Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.

Professor Irvine, is known for his accomplishments in rare genetic skin disorders and vascular abnormalities.

Professor Irvine's primary research focuses on the pathogenesis of AD and three contributing factors. One of those factors - loss-of-function mutations in filaggrin (FLG) - is a major genetic risk for AD. Although the nature of this barrier defect is not fully understood, Professor Irvine said patients with AD with filaggrin mutations are known to have more persistent disease, more severe disease, and a greater risk of food allergies, asthma, and eczema herpeticum. Two other factors impacting AD are staph aureus and Th2 cytokines.

'These three factors create a vicious cycle. If you don't break this cycle, you will never get your patient cured,' he said. Effective treatment, according to Professor Irvine, requires blocking the pathways of these three factors. Certain drugs, such as dupilumab, can be effective, while a number others are in various stages of development and testing.

'It is important to remember that AD is complex and multifactorial; all three factors play a part and targeted therapies are now emerging,' he said. 'However, AD is unlikely to be solved by a single cytokine pathway.'

Professor Alan Irvine